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HPF fix everything?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by primusfan1989, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Fantastic amp! Much missed!
  2. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I wanted a big, bassy sound with lots of bottom but an articulated one with definition and precision.

    I started out by obtaining the means of amplification to reproduce a low b that makes the windows rattle (in my neighbor's house).

    I went on by using my available means of EQ towards that goal. Boost the bass and kill the highs.
    I even bought a LPF.

    Standing in front of my rig, playing any note below the low G would make my bowels vibrate. Fat.

    Using that sound in any kind of band context directly lead to mud. There was no definition whatsoever.

    [we skip the period of mad experimenting with pedals, amps, cabs and whatnot]

    The setup that works best for me now is:
    -Hands off the EQ (that's for minute changes to accommodate the room). Leave ALL the mids and ALL the highs intact.
    -Compression, set as a hard limiter with a fairly low threshold
    -Cut your fingernails
    -Play softly with the plucking hand between the neck PU and the fingerboard
    -Turn up LOUD.
    and last, but not least:
    -HPF @ 50Hz
    superheavyfunk and gregmon79 like this.
  3. I'm in the same boat. I'd never go to an upright gig without my fdeck hpf-pre (both for the filtering and phase-inverting features), but I always leave it home for BG. I think a lot of folks are getting one "just because" (to fix a problem they might not even have). The term being hammered repeatedly in just about every thread, every day creates the artificial need. I find it annoying to see a hpf being recommended instantly to (actual examples) one guy asking advice on which bass to buy for his particular situation, or to another who's obviously very confused about EQ, compression and pedals in general ("Already don't know what you're doing? Here, let me throw more gear at you!").

    It's nothing more, nothing less than another sometimes useful piece of gear, but some folks are turning this into a cult.

    "And that's all I have to say about that."
    ccouch7 and gregmon79 like this.
  4. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I can speak to my exp. I got an Fdeck HPF1 about 5 years ago. I learned about HPF/LPF stuff on TB. When I learned about live sound and what's possible at a live gig, I figured, for the $40 (used) I paid for the Fdeck, it would be worth the added tool in my arsenal. Do I notice when it's there or not, no. But knowing it's there, doing it's thing, makes me feel better. Especially when I use the Meatbox or a mono octave like the OC2. I'm still smart about my settings, but the added protection so to speak is a nice feeling. I was too cheap to get a Tumpinator too btw ;)

    After that, all I had to worry about was an LPF for dirt sounds......jeeeezzzz! It simply never ends :laugh: def keeps it interesting doesn't it...
  5. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    That is equally applicable to any other pedal/effect. If strictly followed, it would mean that I cannot even touch the EQ on my amp. Thus, the "never" part is unreasonable, IMHO.

    Yes. Why not?

    Who said my rig sounds poor without HPF? I didn't. Does it sound better with HPF (reasonably set)? Oh yes.

    Not very practical advice, IMHO. The thing is that the same rig can sound good on one stage and not very good on another. Room acoustics, my friend. That's why it's helpful to be able to make adjustments using EQ, HPF, LPF, notch filter, phase, volume control etc.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:32 AM
  6. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Not everybody is rich enough to own several amplifiers, or even upgrade the one that they already own.

    I play 2-3 gigs a week and need something light, loud and cheap - and since (according to the Venn diagram) I can only have two of the three options, I went with light and cheap. The house PA can do the heavy lifting... I just need to hear myself - and not blow up my drivers.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 12:23 PM
  7. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I may have made it confusing or in error. It was something about the tighter radius towards the center that made that groove harder to hold the low frequency modulations. Zappa's practice was to look at the last track on each side, and do the Motown trick, set up a hard HPF and boost the overall bass shelving control. But even without my bungled interpretation or explanation, he was known to do some tricks to the bass on the last track on each side because of limitations of the grooves there had.
  8. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Maybe when people were using amps up to the 300 watt range, the amps built-in HPF circuitry may have been adequate enough for most situations.

    When people started using pro-grade PA power amps, and the newer high powered bass heads, watts started shooting up to the 800~3000 watt range. Add to that the fact that just about every cab is ported now, an additional HPF really is recommended as a common sense practice.

    But this is music, a creative art form. Everyone is free to do as they wish and fiddle with gear as they wish. You are the artist and these are merely tools you can use or not use. No one's gonna die or loose their life's savings if there's no HPF. :)
    Zbysek likes this.
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    An LP record spins at 33 1/3 RPM, so it makes a complete revolution roughly every 2 seconds. The distance the needle travels in that 2 seconds is the circumference of a circle equal to pi d. Therefore on the first track compared to the last track on the LP, the needle is moving faster through the groove, and covering a greater distance in those 2 seconds. Because the needle is covering more vinyl in those 2 seconds, the music is encoded at a higher "resolution." But as the needle moves toward the center of the LP, it is moving slower and covering a shorter distance in those 2 seconds, and the audio quality is degraded to a lower resolution.

    (edit: math is hard!)
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:43 AM
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  10. They blew up speakers.
    wizard65, Coolhandjjl and Zbysek like this.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Modern cabs can't produce those sub frequencies in most cases. Some can get a lot lower than older cabs. Most can't. And it's a waste of energy on your amp's part to even try if the cabs can't do it.

    It sounds crazy, but I can get a much deeper sound from my rigs WITH and HPF.

    If I chop off those frequencies my rig CAN'T produce, it does a much better job of producing the ones it CAN.

    I use my ears, NOT the cab manual and dial numbers. I keep inching up on the knob until my rig "opens up".

    It's OK if you don't want/need one. However, I suggest you grab a Broughton Always On and give it an honest, open-minded, try.
    Coolhandjjl, mcnach and Zbysek like this.
  12. I don't get it...

    The groove's dimensions don't really change as far as I know. Yes, as the angular speed remains constant, the linear speed decreases and there's less distance covered (time recorded) per turn... but the grooves stay the same, don't they?
  13. Ah! It's about how each progressive turn has a shorter radius = more bent.
    I get you now. Interesting.
    Whether that is an issue or not, I have no idea. But I'd trust Zappa's judgement...
  14. Jehos

    Jehos Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    They played through a HPF called "tube amps". Nowadays you need the HPF because a modern amp will happily waste energy trying to reproduce the muddy junk. This is assuming, of course, that you're playing through a modern amp. If you've got a 70s SVT in your backline, you're good to go without one.
    TakeABreak likes this.
  15. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Should’ve stuck with cylinders
    axwell26medison and TakeABreak like this.
  16. For me, something needs saying here:

    Until you develop the ears and experience and knowledge to read the room, sense the acoustics, 'Q out your rig properly, whether you're carrying the room on your amp or sending a feed to FOH, all the filter pedals and various electronic remedies are not really going to help much. There's a vast difference in what most typical rigs can deliver vs. recorded music or the massive low end of EDM played thru serious, professional PA.

    Because of all the unruly physics involved in amplifying low frequencies, bass can be a frustrating handful. Believe me, I know. But closing that gap between some mumbling pile of fud and producing useful and tuneful performance is possible. But as I've often pointed out, you can't jack up your tone on onboard 3-band, send it to a bass head with way more EQ (much less the ones with octave down generators), complain it sounds muddy and then talk about how your filter pedal 'fixed' it.

    We're missing the boat here. For me, bass really is the point of 'less is more' in a live setting. And I learned that the hard way.
    Coolhandjjl likes this.
  17. Unless you're talking about the kick drum. Then, apparently, you want to boost it to completely swamp the entire low end.
  18. Kick drum. I'm afraid you've completely lost me. Kick drum? I thought my post was about NOT swamping the 'entire low end' from a bass guitar viewpoint. I'm missing where drums come into this . . . . obviously me and the kick drum occupy some of the same sonic real estate, but I've no control over that, nor however (and if) the kick is being handled FOH. I was only positing my take on 'knowing when to say when' as far as my tone goes.
  19. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    No, not applicable to "any effect" because most effects aren't anywhere near as intrusive as a hpf. An engineer can work with properly set effects but he can't bring back anything you've filtered out using a hpf. Maybe it would be comparable if you used a pedal designed for guitar that sucks out the lows. Like a guitar distortion with a built in hpf. You know, those pedals that we avoid like the plague because they mangle the lows...

    In any case, if you only use hpf for stage amp and the stage amp isn't even miked it's not comparable at all. I assume you don't use fx only for stage monitoring and a clean DI to FOH?

    Problems with room acoustics should be handled with surgical, narrow band notch filters. In other words parametric (not semi-parametric) eq. Using a hpf to sort out room acoustics is comparable to using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut. I mean, if you've got one or two problematic room resonances it's hardly necessary to remove everything below the hpf cut off frequency??? A hpf is a great mixing tool but using it on-stage is often creating more problems than it solves IMO. There's a reason why classic bass amps aren't equipped with hpf. It would have been every engineers nightmare if all SVTs suddenly had built in high pass filters. And if your aim is simply to reduce a wider range of boomy lows a low shelf is far less intrusive (not to mention already available on most bass amp, because they WORK).

    The tone controls on most bass amps are usually very wide bell filters and shelf filters for broad shaping of the sound. They are FAR less intrusive than a hpf. But yeah, I still think they should be used sparingly and preferrably not touched after the sound check if the amp is miked. And if the "tone controls" are a graphic eq it will usually cause more problems than it fixes IMO.

    Unless you're a soloist bass is all about "sitting in the mix" rather than having a great sound soloed. And that's a job for the engineer. Especially with the difficult low frequencies that will be greatly affected by the room and the speaker/sub setup. Things we can't hear on stage.

    By all means, if a hpf works for you, great! But I would be wary, or at least check with the engineer that he's ok with it.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 3:09 PM
  20. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    Good point about everyone not affording several amps but I did recommend going SMALLER. Which usually means cheaper. And a hpf isn't exactly cheap either. Some of the most popular ones cost almost as much as a decent amp head! Insanely overpriced for what you get IMO.

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